Building mental models.

Lately I’ve been thinking about patterns and heuristics; recognizing where habits drive patterns, and developing simple mental models for best dealing with them.

Some are easy.

I wear my black shirt on Monday, gray on Tuesday, and so on, until Hawaiian Shirt Friday. I make the same fruit smoothie for breakfast during the week. I take various Epic, Kind, and Quest bars to eat at the office during the day instead of going out to eat.

I don’t have to think about what I’m wearing to the office, or eating for breakfast or lunch during the week. Which means grocery shopping is a 30-minute affair, since we really only need to figure out half dozen dinner ideas for the week.

Some are hard.

I tell myself I’m too tired to stay up late/get up early, that simple repair won’t be simple for me, nobody really cares about this shit anyway. Thoughts > Words > Actions > Habits > Character > Destiny is a good start—but success only comes from follow-through.

And so I recognize I’m often fighting my cognitive and behavioral biases with half-baked mental models in attempts to flip the script, improve routines, and change course. It’s exciting stuff, but it ain’t easy.

Successful follow-through demands constant self-improvement.

Exciting as it is to spot my own patterns and use rules of thumb to get better outcomes, the next level requires refining these models to address what’s beyond the edges of the map. The next level is far more complex.

Cutting corners is tiring. Here’s to better habits.

HT: Valeria Maltoni, Risk & Uncertainty

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